Originally from Bladen County, UNC grad Melody worked as paralegal for 20 years before pursuing food with husband Al full time. They have two daughters: Jordan, a senior at Appalachian State University, and Aubrey, a freshman at Carrboro High School. When they aren’t eating burgers, they can be found at spots like Italian Pizzeria III just next door.
From fondly remembered suppers in her mother’s coastal kitchen to the restaurant she opened in Carrboro this spring, Melody Bowers tells the story of her life through food. The Chapel Hill part of her tale began when she worked in restaurants as a student at UNC and even met husband Al Bowers while the two were working at Jigsaw’s (now Goodfellows).
She and Al now run Al’s Burger Shack and AlMel’s Catering, where Melody serves in many roles, from food prep and loading the delivery truck to social media marketing and accounting. For her, Mel’s Commissary and Luncheonette is a natural progression.
“The idea for Mel’s first began because we have outgrown Al’s and needed prep space,” she says. This function, along with catering prep space and food storage, will comprise the ‘Commissary’ part of the business, while the restaurant space will be dedicated to recipes inspired by a lifetime of North Carolina cooking.
“My vision is seasonal Southern,” she says and cites sandwiches, chowders and “Fried Fish Fridays” as some things diners can look forward to. But most of all, she hopes Mel’s evokes a sense of the place and person that continue to inspire her most. “I want people to walk in and feel like they’ve just walked through the door into my mama’s kitchen, and when they walk out, to remember to treat others as they’d like to be treated.”